SA hockey women into World League semis
The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team qualified for the World League semifinals in Europe in June with a 7-0 round two win against Azerbaijan at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town Saturday night after leading 3-0 at halftime.
World record holder Pietie Coetzee netted another stunning hat-trick to take her tally to a scarcely believable 256 goals in 257 test matches – and eight in her last three outings – with the others going to on-song strikers Jade Mayne and Dirkie Chamberlain, who netted a brace, as well as a top-class effort from outstanding midfielder Tarryn Bright.
Azerbaijan started well, carving out three excellent opportunities to Yuliya Muradi, Lyubov Druzhinina and Farida Mammadova, the latter’s effort expertly smothered by outstanding SA keeper Sanani Mangisa who timed coming off her goalline to perfection to narrow the angle.
No 2 keeper Phume Mbande came on for Mangisa in the second half to make her SA debut and made a couple of confident interventions in her goalbox.
SA opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Bright slid a pinpoint pass to her ever-alert Western Province teammate Jade Mayne and the striker with the silky touch deflected high into the net.
Five minutes later, with Coetzee off in this sport of rolling substitutions, Bright struck SA’s second penalty corner for an onrushing Chamberlain to tip in at the right-hand post (2-0).
KZN Coastal Raiders star Kelly Madsen came close soon after as SA took a firm grip, with a number of other opportunities coming their way, while Northern Blues defender Nicolene Terblanche showed admirable presence to dispossess an Azerbaijani attacker about to let rip in the girls in green and gold’s defensive goal-zone.
In the 30th minute Coetzee smashed SA’s fourth PC into the backboard (3-0). In the last minutes of the opening half the Azerbaijanis won two PCs of which SA captain Marsha Marescia saved the first on the goalline with the second stopped by Mangisa.
Minutes after the changeover highly promising young SA forward Lilian du Plessis of Tuks and Northern Blues won SA’s sixth PC and Coetzee flashed a trademark drag-flick into a ballooning net (4-0).
A minute later Coetzee’s far-post pass from SA’s eighth PC saw a carbon copy second goal for Chamberlain (5-0).
From two penalty corners near the end Bright got her second and Coetzee her hat-trick.
SA play their last World League round two match against Austria at 6 pm Sunday with Azerbaijan facing Belgium in the runner-up decider at 4 pm.
Earlier result: Belgium 7 Ghana 1.
Sunday’s matches: Belgium vs Azerbaijan (4 pm); SA vs Austria (6 pm).